Archives for the category: Bioprinting organs/human tissue cells

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August 20, 2015

This Low-Cost 3-D Printer Can Produce Human Organs And Bones

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At a lab in Philadelphia's Drexel University, a desktop 3-D printer is cranking out miniature samples of bones. In Toronto, another researcher is using the same printer to make living tumors for drug testing. It looks like an ordinary 3-D printer, but instead of plastic, it squirts out living cells. FastCompany reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBioBots, the startup behind the device, wants to change how researchers do biology. "We've been doing experiments on cells in a dish since 1905, and that's still what we're doing today to learn about how things work inside of our body," says Danny Cabrera, CEO of BioBots. "But the body is a three-dimensional structure. Cells in our body are used to interacting with the world in 3-D. The fact that we've been doing biology in 2-D for over 100 years now is sort of limiting."

In the past, the researcher with the 3-D printed tumors would have tested new tumor-fighting drugs in a dish or on an animal—neither of which really represents how the drug would actually work in the human body. The 3-D printed version gets much closer to the real thing. "It mimics the tumor micro-environment really well," says Cabrera. "So when you pass drugs to it, it really is a much better predictor of what the effects of those drugs is going to be."

The researcher studying bones is learning how bones form. "The vision is that once we understand these processes we can recreate them, and we can begin to engineer bones for people who need them," he says. Other researchers have printed out samples of heart tissue, lungs, the brain, skin, and cartilage.quotesmarksleft.jpg

BioBots is inviting early-stage developers to order and test out their product. Their credit card will be charged: $25000.

Read more.

emily | 8:49 AM | permalink

May 19, 2015

L'Oreal to start 3D-printing skin

_83089659_l'oreal.jpgFrench cosmetics firm L'Oreal is teaming up with bio-engineering start-up Organovo to 3D-print human skin. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIt said the printed skin would be used in product tests.

Organovo has already made headlines with claims that it can 3D-print a human liver but this is its first tie-up with the cosmetics industry.

Experts said the science might be legitimate but questioned why a beauty firm would want to print skin.

L'Oreal currently grows skin samples from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients. It produces more than 100,000, 0.5 sq cm skin samples per year and grows nine varieties across all ages and ethnicities.

Its statement explaining the advantage of printing skin, offered little detail: "Our partnership will not only bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless."

It also gave no timeframe for when printed samples would be available, saying it was in "early stage research".quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:06 PM | permalink

April 24, 2015

Mini 3D printed organs mimic beating heart and liver

With the help of a 3D printer, mini human organs can come in all shapes and sizes. In this video, a cluster of tiny hearts – shown on the right – beat in sync, and another pulsing heart is fused with a spherical, darker-coloured liver. New Scientist reports.

quotemarksright.jpgDeveloped by Anthony Atala and his team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the mini-organs represent the first step in developing an entire human body on a chip.

The hearts were created by reprogramming human skin cells into heart cells, which were then clumped together in a cell culture. A 3D printer was then used to give them the desired shape and size – in this case, a diameter of 0.25 millimetres.

... The approach is being developed as an alternative to animal testing, which is costly and doesn't always produce results that are applicable to humans.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:24 AM | permalink

April 2, 2015

3D-Printed Kidney Tissue Is Here

Biomedical company Organovo showed off its technique for 3D printing human kidney tissue at the 2015 Experimental Biology conference in Boston. Motherboard reports.

quotemarksright.jpgOrganovo has been working on printing functional human tissue since being incorporated in 2007, and first printed a cellular blood vessel in 2010. Since January 2014, it has offeredbioprintedliver tissue (marketed as exVive3D™ liver tissue) for companies to use in drug trials and disease modeling, and it looks as though its bioprinted human kidney tissue will be used for the same tasks, starting sometime in the latter half of 2016.

"Kidney represents an ideal extension of capabilities to 3D bioprint organ tissues that can be tremendously useful in pharmaceutical research," Keith Murphy, Organovo's chairman and CEO, said via press release. “The product that we intend to build from these initial results can be an excellent expansion for our core customers in toxicology, who regularly express to us an interest in having better solutions for the assessment of human kidney toxicity.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 3:48 PM | permalink

January 28, 2015

Doctors Create A 3D Printed Trachea on a MakerBot

3d-printed-trachea.jpg Doctors at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York, say 3D printing can be used to create a biodegradable tracheal segment containing a patient’s own cells to aid them in complex reconstruction surgery. [via]

quotemarksright.jpgMaking a windpipe or trachea is uncharted territory,” Todd Goldstein of the Feinstein Institute says. “It has to be rigid enough to withstand coughs, sneezes and other shifts in pressure, yet flexible enough to allow the neck to move freely.

With 3D printing, we were able to construct 3D printed scaffolding that the surgeons could immediately examine and then we could work together in real time to modify the designs.

MakerBot was extremely helpful and consulted on optimizing our design files so they would print better and provided advice on how to modify the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer to print with PLA and the biomaterial.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:47 AM | permalink

December 24, 2014

Organovo CEO On The Role Of 3D Printing In Health Care

Organovo recently announced a partnership with the Yale School of Medicine to develop bio-printed tissues for surgical transplantation. CEO Keith Murphy was kind enough to take the time to sit down with Benzinga and talk about how 3D printing is changing the world of health care.


BZ: Why did you decide to join Organovo?

KM: The opportunity to make something of 100 percent of cells, to me just from a big picture perspective, made a lot of sense because if you can create a tissue that is made entirely of cells, there is no reason that it shouldn’t behave like a tissue. We work at a very small scale right now so we are making, what I would say is small tissue but that gives the best possible functional connection to a native organ, and then we will still face the challenge in the future of growing that to be a larger organ.

BZ: What role does 3D printing play in health care?

KM: There is a broad set of 3D printing activities in health care. We represent one aspect of that. Again, we are working with the living cells. If you look at some of the things that a company known as Medical Modeling was doing, and they have been acquired by 3D Systems Corporation, but they do work on helping physicians build, for example, specific implants out of plastic or metal for a patient that are going to be sized to that patient, which I think is really powerful application. Some of the things you will see in 3D printing in the medical space are traditional materials used in medical devices, and I think that is a really powerful application. That is something that you are going to see other companies doing. Then, we are working on the cellular side.

BZ: What does Organovo, specifically, do with 3D printing?

KM: There is a number of applications on our side, as well. We have launched 3D liver for use and drug research. The application there is basically, in a nutshell, to be better than potentially displaced animal models because animal models can only be so good in terms of their prediction value for a drug. You see a lot of drugs fail in human trials and that's because you don’t have perfect information when you enter a human trial.


Read more.

emily | 9:25 AM | permalink

November 18, 2014

Organovo begins selling 3D printed liver tissue

3D bioprinting company Organovo announced today that its 3D printed liver tissue is now commercially available, and pharmaceutical laboratories can begin using it to test if their early-stage drugs are toxic. [via GigaOM]

quotemarksright.jpgThe tissue is made from three types of cells found in the human liver. Liver cells need to be arranged in a very precise pattern or they don’t work. That means 3D tissue can give clearer results than the 2D collections of cells that labs currently use because the cells interact and mimic a full liver more convincingly. Organovo said it also makes the drug discovery process faster and, as a result, cheaper.

Organovo prints its liver tissue with a machine that isn’t that far removed from the inkjet printers that can be found on a desktop. Needle-like nozzles lay down the cells in a precise pattern. The tissue can survive for up to 42 days while researchers expose it to exploratory drugs.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article and Organovo press release.

emily | 10:28 PM | permalink

October 15, 2014

Australian scientists develop 3D printed synthetic bone substitute

A team of Australian scientists from the University of Sydney are taking 3D printing to a whole new level of medical usefulness. For the past few years this team, led by professor Hala Zreiqat, have been working on a 3D printed substitute for bones, whose exact characteristics have so far been impossible to reproduce synthetically.

quotemarksright.jpgProfessor Hala Zreiqat and a team of scientists have succeeded in developing a printable material that is a hundred times stronger than current synthetic materials used to copy bone structures. The Australian researchers, in a collaborative effort with Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, can now print a material that can recreate the exact skeletal structure of any patient.quotesmarksleft.jpg


emily | 9:21 AM | permalink

October 6, 2014

Making 3D printed ears for disfigured children

bionicear_9245_preferred-by-mcm_400.jpg Scientists at University College London are using 3D printing to create ears to be implanted onto children with severe disfigurements. The BBC reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe scientific team has been testing the process by implanting a 3D ear on a rat. The operation filmed by BBC Inside Out is a major medical breakthrough and could radically change organ transplants.

The next stage is to trial the operation in India where there are already a dozen children ready to undergo the surgery in Mumbai. There is a desperate need for this type of facial reconstruction in India.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.


-- 3D-Printed Ears Are Now a Reality in China

-- Printable 'bionic' ear melds electronics and biology

emily | 9:37 AM | permalink

September 26, 2014

PrintAlive: 3D Bioprinter Creates 'Living Bandage' Skin Grafts to Treat Burn Victims


Engineering students from the University of Toronto have developed a 3D bioprinter that can rapidly create artificial skin grafts from a patient's cells to help treat burn victims. [via IBT]

quotemarksright.jpgIn severe burn injuries, both the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and the dermis (inner layer) are severely damaged, and it usually takes at least two weeks for skin cells to be grown in a laboratory to be grafted on to a patient.

As both layers of skin are made from completely different cells that have different structures, it is very difficult for the body to regenerate itself and burn victims can die if their wounds cannot be closed quickly enough.

Add to that, until now, scientists have had a hard time trying to create artificial skin grafts using 3D printers, due to the complexity involved in printing several successive complex layers, each consisting of a different type of cells.

So instead of trying to replicate a real human skin graft, the PrintAlive Bioprinter creates a type of "living bandage" from hydrogel.

Students Arianna McAllister, Lian Leng and Boyang Zhang worked with Axel Guenther, an associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Toronto, and Sunnybrook Research Institute burn surgeon Dr Marc Jeschke to develop a special printer cartridge.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:13 AM | permalink

August 18, 2014

TeVido BioDevices 3D-Prints Skin And Fat Grafts For Breast Cancer Survivors

screen-shot-2014-08-13-at-4-14-18-pm.png TeVideo BioDevices is a privately held biotechnology company using 3D bio-printing of a woman’s own living cells – to build custom grafts for breast cancer reconstruction. Their first product is targeted to improve nipple reconstruction and later fill lumpectomies and other fat grating needs.

quotemarksright.jpg The company is developing propriety, patent-pending, bioprinting technology, CellatierTM, and when combined with a woman’s own living cells will build a custom NAC graft made just for her.

... TeVido completed a first round of lab tests on just a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and is hoping to receive another from the National Institutes of Health. In order to move into the second phase of testing, TeVido is seeking more funding.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via TechCrunch]

emily | 9:43 AM | permalink

July 13, 2014

The Army's Bioprinted Skin Is Almost Ready to Be Used on Soldiers

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 10.50.09 AM.png The US Army is hoping to soon begin clinical trials with 3D-printed skin. The goal is helping soldiers better recover from injuries sustained in battle—and the Army also actively developing artificial 3D printed hearts, blood vessels, and other organs. [via Motherboard]

quotemarksright.jpgIn the latest issue of Army Technology, an official publication of the US military, Army researchers claim that the future of medicine is customizable, available on-demand, and 3D printed.

"The scars that soldiers develop as a result of burns constrict movement and disfigure them permanently," Michael Romanko, a doctor with the Army's Tissue Injury and Regenerative Medicine Project told the magazine. The initiative to restore high-quality skin that is elastic and complete with sweat glands, appropriate pigmentation, and hair follicles is incredibly important. Everyone has a different type of energy, and not everyone's skin injury looks the same. Skin bioprinting would provide a scalable form of personalized medicine.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 10:44 AM | permalink

June 4, 2014

Vincent van Gogh’s 3-D Printed Ear on Display

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A living replica of the ear Vincent van Gogh is said to have cut off during a psychotic episode in 1888 is now on display at a museum in Germany. [via The Wall Street Journal]

quotemarksright.jpgArtist Diemut Strebe used cells from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent’s brother Theo, to grow the ear and a 3-D printer to shape it. The artist said the ear, which was grown at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is being kept alive inside a case containing a nourishing liquid and could theoretically last for years. The ear is identical in shape to van Gogh’s ear, according to the museum.

... The exhibition runs through July 6 at The Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. The artist plans to display the ear in New York next year.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 9:23 PM | permalink

May 14, 2014

Students Design Artificial Kidney with 3-D Printing

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Chemical engineering students at the University of Connecticut have used 3D printing to develop two prototypes for an artificial kidney.

Medical News Today also reported recently on the creation of 3D-printed kidneys by surgeons in Japan - to be used as patient-individualized models for kidney cancer surgeons to practice on.

[via Medical News Today and University of Connecticut press release]

Related: - 3D-printed tumour helps researchers conduct medical study

emily | 9:23 AM | permalink

May 12, 2014

3D-printed device removes toxins from blood

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a 3D-printed device inspired by the liver to remove toxins from the blood. The Engineer reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe device, designed for use outside the body uses nanoparticles to trap pore-forming toxins that can damage cellular membranes and are a key factor in illnesses that result from animal bites and stings, and bacterial infections. Their findings were published May 8 in the journal Nature Communications.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 4:32 PM | permalink

April 24, 2014

3D printer helps make synthetic skin tissue

Chemistry professor Hagan Bayley and his team from the University of Oxford have designed a customised 3D printer which can churn out thousands of fake-flesh cells at a time. The Oxford Mail reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThese are made up of thousands of tiny water droplets, each coated in a thin film studded with protein pores. It mimics a living cell and can be used to help heal wounds and test new drugs.

The professor, who has netted £1m worth of investment for his university spin-out company OxSyBio, is based at the university’s chemistry research lab in Mansfield Road.

He said: “It all goes back to the Lego bricks many of us played with when we were kids. “What this 3D printing technique does is to build something layer by layer and the bricks in this case happen to be these droplets. “This can create materials that can replace our own cellular tissues and the 3D printer can produce several different types of cells at once.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.


-- Researchers at the University of Liverpool are developing synthetic skin that can be produced on a 3D printer

-- Wake Forest University's Military Research Center 3D Prints Skin Cells Onto Burn Wounds

emily | 6:32 PM | permalink

April 16, 2014

Japanese Researchers Create 3D Bone Printer

BonePrint.jpg Developed by researchers at the medical technology firm NEXT21 K.K. and the University of Tokyo’s brain science institute RIKEN, the new printer is capable of creating artificial bone material that is accurate up to 0.1mm (0.0039in). reports.

quotemarksright.jpgBuilding artificial bone from calcium phosphate, which is a component of both human bones and teeth, the printer’s product should be able to integrate directly into a patient’s body where it will fuse with existing bone.

According to NEDO, this new printing technology makes the complicated process of bone grafting much easier, reducing the healing time for patients suffering from broken limbs or bone removal due to cancer therapies.

Next21is set to begin a series of trials that will last around 10 months. If successful, the company hopes to roll their printer out across Asia, providing artificial bone replacement therapies to hospitals across the continent.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 1:55 PM | permalink

April 12, 2014

3D-printed tumour helps researchers conduct medical study

HeLaCellDividing-325x208.jpg A 3D-printed model of a cancerous tumour created by researchers from the US and China could give researchers a new way of conducting medical studies. reports.

quotemarksright.jpgUsing a special 3D cell printer developed by the research team, the tumour model is created from a scaffold of fibrous proteins coated in cervical cancer cells and provides a realistic representation of a tumour's environment.

Cervical cancer cells, known as Hela cells, have been chosen for the research due to their ability to divide indefinitely in lab conditions. Researchers hope the cells will help them better understand how tumours develop, grow and spread throughout the body.

2D models that consist of a single layer of cells already exist and have been used in studies, but researchers have been restricted with regards to what they can achieve with them. While these models mimic the physiological environment of a tumour, they don't provide a realistic representation of one.

... Commenting on the development, Dr Samuel Godfrey, Cancer Research UK's science information manager told "Using 3D printers to build living models of tumours in a lab is a fascinating technique that could give scientists a new way of making their experiments more realistic.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Study published in the journal Biofabrication "Three-dimensional printing of Hela cells for cervical tumor model in vitro". Image above, HeLa Cell Dividing, courtesy of Dr. Thomas Deerinck (not a 3D printed cell)

emily | 4:31 PM | permalink

April 10, 2014

Scientists try to 3-D print a human heart

1397100022620.jpg It may sound far-fetched, but scientists are attempting to build a human heart with a 3-D printer. Stuff reports.

quotemarksright.jpgUltimately, the goal is to create a new heart for a patient with their own cells that could be transplanted. It is an ambitious project to first, make a heart and then get it to work in a patient, and it could be years - perhaps decades - before a 3-D printed heart would ever be put in a person.

The technology, though, is not all that futuristic: Researchers have already used 3-D printers to make splints, valves and even a human ear.

So far, the University of Louisville team has printed human heart valves and small veins with cells, and they can construct some other parts with other methods, said Stuart Williams, a cell biologist leading the project. They have also successfully tested the tiny blood vessels in mice and other small animals, he said.

Williams believes they can print parts and assemble an entire heart in three to five years.

The finished product would be called the "bioficial heart" - a blend of natural and artificial.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

March 4, 2014

This 3-D-Printed Membrane Could Keep Hearts Beating Indefinitely

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have 3-D-printed an electronic membrane worn on the heart that could keep the organ beating indefinitely. FastCompany reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe flexible custom-fitted silicon membrane wraps around the heart like a glove, and its embedded sensors can measure temperature, mechanical strain, and pH as well as deliver a pulse of electricity when the heart beats irregularly. It's possible the membrane, which could be used in patients in 15 years, could also include a sensor to measure troponin, a protein that, when released in high levels, could signal a heart attack. The video above shows a demonstration of the membrane over a rabbit's heart.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:57 AM | permalink

December 23, 2013

3D-printing BioPen 'draws' with living cells to repair damaged bones


Researchers in Australia have developed a pen to deposit regenerative stem cells onto damaged bone and cartilage in a process similar to 3D printing. Dezeen reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe BioPen was created in the laboratories of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales. It combines principles from 3D printing with stem cell research to enable missing or diseased bone to be replaced faster and more accurately.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 10:05 AM | permalink

December 12, 2013

Self-repairing running shoes 3D-printed from biological cells


London designer and researcher Shamees Aden is developing a concept for running shoes that would be 3D-printed from synthetic biological material and could repair themselves overnight.[via Dezeen]

quotemarksright.jpgAden developed the project in collaboration with Dr Martin Hanczyc, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark who specialises in protocell technology. Protocells are very basic molecules that are not themselves alive, but can be combined to create living organisms.

By mixing different types of these non-living molecules, scientists are attempting to produce artificial living systems that can be programmed with different behaviours, such as responsiveness to pressure, light and heat.

"The cells have the capability to inflate and deflate and to respond to pressure," Aden told Dezeen at the Wearable Futures conference in London. "As you're running on different grounds and textures it's able to inflate or deflate depending on the pressure you put onto it and could help support you as a runner.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Sounds like 4D bioprinting.

Read full article.

emily | 4:50 PM | permalink

November 27, 2013

Developing natural-looking, 3D-printed skin

developingna.jpg Researchers at the University of Liverpool are developing synthetic skin that can be produced on a 3D printer and matched to a person based on their age, gender and ethnic group. PhysOrg reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWorking alongside colleagues at the University of Manchester, Liverpool researchers are now developing 3D image processing and skin modelling techniques that can copy a person's skin so that it appears natural, whatever light it is shown in.

While it is possible to print synthetic skin in one tone, this does not reflect the diversity of the surface which in real life will be patterned by freckles, veins and wrinkles. People walking between daylight and artificial light also take on a different shade, so any synthetic skin has to produce the same effect.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 4:59 PM | permalink

November 21, 2013

Bioengineer: the heart is one of the easiest organs to bioprint, we'll do it in a decade

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 3.28.55 PM.png A team of cardiovascular scientists has announced it will be able to 3D print a whole heart from the recipients' own cells within a decade. Stuart K Williams, Executive and Scientific Director of Cardiovascular Innovation Institute spoke with

quotemarksright.jpg Williams is heading up the hugely ambitious project as executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at the University of Louisville.

Williams says he and his team of more than 20 have already bioengineered a coronary artery and printed the smallest blood vessels in the heart used in microcirculation. "These studies have reached the advanced preclinical stage showing printed blood vessels will reconnect with the recipient tissue creating new blood flow in the printed tissue."

The team has also worked on other methods of bioengineering tissue, including electrospinning for the creation of large blood vessel scaffolds that can then be joined with bioprinted microvessels.

But why print the parts, when you can print the whole in one go? We shouldn't just be able to repair the heart using bioengineering, but replace it.

The Cardiovascular Innovation Institute is now developing bespoke 3D printers for the job with a team of engineers and vascular biologists.

... Bioengineers have already 3D printed a tiny functioning liver, but the problem is keeping it alive. The liver, for instance, was just a millimetre thick and four millimetres wide, and survived only five days.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:21 PM | permalink

November 11, 2013

3D-Printed Human Cells Will Replace Animal Testing in Five Years


3D-printing could soon bring about an end to animal abuse in drug testing, according to bioengineering expert Alan Faulkner-Jones, reports Dezeen via inhabitat.

quotemarksright.jpgSpeaking at the 3D Printshow Hospital, just one exhibit at the 3D Printshow in London designed to showcase medical uses of advanced manufacturing, the Heriot Watt University researcher said that 3D-printed human cells could replace the need to test new drugs on animals as soon as 2018.

Using a bio-printer hacked together from a MakerBot printer, Faulkner-Jones demonstrated how human stem cells can be printed into micro-tissues and micro-organs. These miniature biological systems, otherwise known as systems-on-a-chip, not only resemble humans genetically, but they also respond as if it is a living miniature organ. This allows for more effective drugs tests that show side effects first hand.

Faulkner-Jones believes the technology could replace cruel and often inaccurate animal testing within five years. In addition to sparing animals, this technology could mitigate the issue of having to develop medicines that work perfectly on animals before they can be tested on humans, which slows down the process.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 4:44 PM | permalink

November 10, 2013

3 ways 3-D printing could revolutionize healthcare

3-D printing has lately gained momentum as a (cheap, quick) manufacturing endpoint in and of itself. “The biggest advantage of 3D printing is that everything is customizable,” said Markus Fromherz, Xerox’s chief innovation officer in healthcare. Quartz reports.

quotemarksright.jpg There are three categories of healthcare where 3-D printing could be applied, or is already, Markus Fromherz, Xerox’s chief innovation officer in healthcare. said: for body parts or prosthetics (sometimes called “scaffolding”), medical devices, and human tissues.

1. Scaffolding

Printing technology has already revolutionized joint replacements, Fromherz said. “Knee replacement is a very common procedure, there are six or so different types of knees that doctors use,” he said, adding, “with each one you need to cut the bone differently.”

But with 3-D printing, doctors aren’t limited to those six knees. They can design one specific to each patient.

Patients with custom knees don’t have to lose extra inches of bone, instead the surgeon can cut at the optimal point, which could lead to faster recovery times and better functionality. Strong, flexible new knee joints mimicking bone and cartilage can now be printed with nylon. These surgeries are available at top-tier medical facilities like the Mayo Clinic.

2. Medical devices

Most hearing aids are already 3-D printed, since these have always been customized to the user, and scanning, modeling, and printing saves time over casting a handmade mold of the inner ear. What used to take a week now takes less than a day. Similarly, making crowns and dental implants–once a two week process–can happen while the patient reads a magazine in the waiting room.

3. Human tissues

Scientists have printed artificial meat tissue suitable for eating, but making tissues and organs that maintain life has been much harder. So far, printed bits of functional liver tissue in Petri dishes could be viable for testing drugs, and larger models have been useful for surgeons to practice technique. “Printing functional human tissue will be a game changer, but it’s far out,” Fromherz said.

... It still takes at least 30 minutes to print anything. The technology may one day be most useful at military field hospitals or at the scene of an accident, where immediately creating splints, body parts or devices could save lives, but it’s not quick enough yet to be implemented. “There will be 3-D printers, I’m sure, in every home and hospital in the future,” Fromherz said. “But right now the tech isn’t fast enough.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:22 AM | permalink

November 8, 2013

Austin Company Prints Breast Tissue with 3D Printer

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 8.07.03 AM.png A company called TeVido BioDevices is using a woman's cells to print breast tissue. KeyeTV reports.

quotemarksright.jpgLaura Bosworth CEO of TeVido BioDevices says they started out with a modified HP Deskjet printer and instead of filling the cartridges with ink they injected them with biomaterial and printed out skin.

"We have a combination of living cells and ingredients that we use inside these cartridges and layer by layer we build up either the nipple or lumpectomy void to match what is what you need and what you are missing," Bosworth said. "We would be able to use a woman's own cells and match whatever she has existing and create something that would be more permanent."

Plastic surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder says it has the promise to be a game changer for breast reconstruction.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:01 AM | permalink

November 7, 2013

3-D printed liver slices are able to function normally for 40 days

human-liver-3d-printer.jpg By harnessing the liver's natural ability to regenerate itself, researchers at Organovo were able to create a piece of liver that was able to operate like a regular healthy liver, filtering out toxins and drugs and keeping in nutrients — for up to 40 days. DVICE reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThat extended record beat the company's previous results in April, when the liver slice was able to keep functioning for just over five days. That's a 700 percent increase.

The 3D-printed liver slices showed a normal reaction to acetaminophen (you know, Tylenol) and other drugs, suggesting that it functions on par with a normal human liver. However, the success of the printed liver slices are not yet an indication for full 3D organ transplant operations. A full-grown liver contains tiny networks of blood vessels to stay healthy, which poses a challenge to replicate in 3D printing.

Still, since the human liver is less complex in makeup when compared to other organs, a fully printed liver may be one of the first organs to be successfully recreated. Even millimeter-thick mini-portions of liver could potentially help needy patients who don't require a full organ transplant.

Organovo is planning on using its liver slices in the 3D Human Liver Project in 2014. The project will test human tissue response in drug candidates to provide more accurate results for pharmaceutical research than animal testing can yield. The results can then be used to develop more effective new drugs, perhaps with less side effects.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:12 PM | permalink

October 26, 2013

Why Engineers Want To Put B Vitamins In 3-D Printers

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 9.24.58 AM.png Almost every day it seems there's a new use for 3-D printing. npr reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIn medicine, the printers are already making prosthetic hands, hearing aid cases and parts of human ears.

But the materials used in some 3-D printing processes could be toxic to humans, particularly if the products get inside the body. So researchers have been looking for ways found a way to replace some of the bad stuff with naturally occurring riboflavin, or vitamin B2.

Riboflavin is found in lots of food, including green veggies, nuts and fish. Our cells aren't programmed to reject it, which could make it handy for use in 3-D printed medical implants, microneedles or scaffolding to build custom body parts in the lab.

The researchers focused on a 3-D printing technique called two-photon polymerization, which can produce finely detailed, microscopic structures. The 3-D printer uses lasers to transform a potion of light-sensitive chemicals into a solid structure.

But some of the chemicals in that potion can be bad for us, says biomedical engineer Roger Narayan, one of the researchers behind the new technique. "And if they leach out of the material they can cause problems," he says.

The researchers, from the joint biomedical engineering department at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, say that their new material appears to hold up pretty well, though they are looking into whether they can improve its durability.

Narayan tells Shots that while this technology isn't ready for human use, it could be before long. "I don't think anyone 10 or 20 years ago thought that you'd be making hearing aid shells or ... dental devices using 3-D printing," he says.

So far, the researchers have tested the material with cells taken from cows. They published their findings in the journal Regenerative Medicine. Before testing the material in animals or humans, they plan to refine it further.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 9:20 AM | permalink

September 16, 2013

Tiny 3D-printed organs could enable better drug testing

lung-gut-chips-275x400.jpg Miniature human organs made by 3D printing could create a "body on a chip" that enables better drug testing. That futuristic idea has become a new bioprinting project backed by $24 million from the U.S. Department of Defense. TechNewsDaily reports via Fox News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgResearchers at Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have already re-created the functions of a few human organs on fingertip-size chip devices, including a lung-on-a-chip and a gut-on-a-chip.

The institute is now announcing it's starting a project to develop 10 such chips and wire them together so they can interact in one complex system. Institute scientists will also build a controller for the chips that will send fluids in and out of the system and measure the biochemistry inside.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 7:35 PM | permalink

August 10, 2013

Lab-Grown Cartilage Is the Latest Step Towards Plug-and-Play Organs

3a8d00c302438fd010653a106395a6c9_vice_630x420.jpg While computer engineers and neuroscientists put their heads together to try to simulate the brain, biologists and makers are teaming up to 3D print the body. Motherboard.vice reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIt's been possible to print out parts of the body for years now, but now scientists are edging closer to being able to create regenerative, living cells—in other words, a liver or heart that is fully functioning, that humans can actually use.

This week, scientists at St Vincent’s Hospital in Australia got one step closer to this goal when they successfully "grew" cartilage from stem cells. They created custom equipment to better insert live cells inside a 3D-printed structure. “We are trying to create a tissue environment that can ‘self-repair’ over many years," wrote lead researcher Gordon Wallace.

Eventually, the idea is to use stem cells from patients' own bodies to print and grow all kinds of inner body parts—muscles, fat, bone, arteries, and tendons. Within a few years, it could be possible to develop custom-made printed human organs, researchers say.

... Fully functional, made-to-order organs is seriously mind-boggling to think about. Not only could the process potentially save the lives of the 118,000 people currently on the national donor waiting list, it could conceivably extend the lifespan of thousands more. But printing the human body is no easy task.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 10:48 AM | permalink

Printing Body Parts in China [video]

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 9.56.01 AM.png China is taking revolutionary steps in 3D printing. Researchers in Hang-Zhou unveiled the country’s first 3D bio-printer that makes human body parts. It’s a move that has raised ethical questions for some. Watch video on CNN.

New Scientist points out that The Hangzhou team aren't the only ones 3D-printing spare parts for people. Earlier this year, a team at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, also demonstrated an ear printer, and Organovo in San Diego, California, are on the way to building fresh human livers.

Meanwhile a team at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, has turned human embryonic stem cells into 3D-printer ink. Things are more advanced when it comes to making new bones, as a woman with a 3D-printed titanium jawbone could tell you.

emily | 9:53 AM | permalink

July 21, 2013

Wake Forest 3D Prints Skin Cells Onto Burn Wounds

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 8.10.41 PM.pngScientists have developed a method of 3D printing new skin cells onto burn wounds at Wake Forest University's Military Research Center. Acoording to 3D Printer-World, the method is far superior to traditional skin grafts because regular grafts require skin from a donor site somewhere on the patient's body.

In their own words:

quotemarksright.jpgSubstitute skin products are available, but they are limited in size and some require a lengthy preparation time. With traditional skin grafts, many burn patients don't have enough unburned skin to harvest grafts. A new approach is needed to immediately stabilize the wound and promote healing.

In our project to “print” skin cells on burn wounds.we place cells in vials, rather than in cartridges, and "print" them directly onto the wound. A laser first scans the wound, so that a "map" can be created to direct the printer precisely where to place each cell type.

Mice with wounds similar to burn wounds healed in three weeks with bioprinting. In animals without the treatment, wound healing took five weeks. The goal of the project is to develop a treatment that can quickly cover and stabilize a wound. Research has shown that the longer it takes to cover a wound with skin, the higher the risk of infection, complications, and death.

This video -- with a mock hand and burn -- demonstrates the process.quotesmarksleft.jpg

A Dutch company called SkinPrint is also working with 3D printers to treat burn wounds. Instead of printing cells directly onto the victim's burn wounds they are working to create universal transplantable skin grafts.

Read full article.

emily | 6:09 PM | permalink

June 18, 2013

Scientists Use 3D Printer To Print Artificial Bone

Using 3D printing technology, MIT scientists have developed a process that allows them to turn designs into physical fracture-resistant, bone-like structures within just a few hours, according to their report in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. RedOrbit reports.

quotemarksright.jpg While some of physical samples created by the team fracture similar to bones, one of the synthetic structures hierarchical design was changed such that it is 22 times more fracture-resistant than its strongest component material.

"The geometric patterns we used in the synthetic materials are based on those seen in natural materials like bone or nacre, but also include new designs that do not exist in nature," said study co-author Markus Buehler, an engineering professor at MIT.

"As engineers we are no longer limited to the natural patterns," he added. "We can design our own, which may perform even better than the ones that already exist.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:47 AM | permalink

Organovo CEO predicts timeframe for 3D printing a human liver

Organovo has pioneered a form of bioprinting that uses a specialized 3D printer to build human tissue by using cells as a sort of "human ink." As of yet, they are not able to print an entire human organ, although that is one of their goals. Currently, they print assays of tissue that pharmaceutical companies use for the testing of their products.

In this video, Organovo's CEO Keith Murphy is interviewed on CBC News' Lang & O'Leary Exchange. [via 3DPrintingEvent]

The video above, available on Organovo's website, also explains the Bioprinting Process.

emily | 8:07 AM | permalink

May 3, 2013

3D-Printed ear that can restore hearing is part of a much bigger cyborg operation

4d68a12d2acb7cd0119bc54571bdc39f_vice_630x420.jpg Researchers at Princeton recently unveiled this bionic ear that can restore the sense of hearing for the deaf. The latest bit of progress in their greater ambition to build spare parts for would be human cyborg.

The ear takes advantage of a new polymer-based gel that's partially made up of calf cells, and it can ostensibly be used for other parts as well. And get this: it even picks up radio signals.

[via Motherboard]

emily | 6:29 PM | permalink

April 25, 2013

3D printing right into your spine could make you whole again

disks-bioengineered.jpg Scientists at Cornell University, led by Dr. Lawrence J. Bonasser, are pioneering a spinal surgery that sounds like something straight out of science fiction. Utilizing 3D printing techniques loaded with stem cell-infused bio-ink, they aim to repair the degenerative spinal discs of 30 million ailing Americans. DVICE reports.

quotemarksright.jpgAccording to Dr. Bonassar, over 100 rats in his lab have had successful spinal disc replacements.

... In more extreme cases of spinal degeneration, Dr. Bonasser's lab is also capable of creating entirely new spinal discs, printed to the individual needs of each patient. The surgery to replace a disc is a bit more invasive than the one to repair it, but both options are vastly superior to the previous option of fusing a patient's spine.

The real breakthrough will be when we begin seeing this sort of operation performed on human subjects - hopefully soon.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Real full article.

emily | 2:47 PM | permalink

Organova successfully 3D prints human liver - but it's tiny

Organovo has successfully 3D printed a liver - but it's tiny - just half a millimetre deep and 4 millimetres across but can perform most functions of the real thing. New Scientist reports.

quotemarksright.jpgTo create them, a printer builds up about 20 layers of hepatocytes and stellate cells – two major types of liver cell. Crucially, it also adds cells from the lining of blood vessels. These form a delicate mesh of channels that supply the liver cells with nutrients and oxygen, allowing the tissue to live for five days or longer. The cells come from spare tissue removed in operations and biopsies.

... Organovo's ultimate goal is to create human-sized structures suitable for transplant; the big hurdle is being able to print larger branched networks of blood vessels to nourish such an organ. The company unveiled the mini-livers at the annual Experimental Biology conference this week in Boston.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:37 PM | permalink

April 13, 2013

3D printed breast implants

Print-your-own breast implants could be one of the new products in the $8.4 billion market of 3D printer products projected for 2025, reports MedCity News via @dimensionext.

quotemarksright.jpgTeVido BioDevices is working to commercialize technology that would allow doctors to use a patient’s own fat to print a customized breast implant. The initial focus is reconstructive surgery after breast cancer, but the technology could also make plastic surgery cheaper and more successful.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:29 AM | permalink

April 6, 2013

It’s alive! Researchers use 3D printer to create human-like cells

3dprinterbui.jpg A team of scientists at Oxford University have printed — yes, printed — what could be the predecessors to usable synthetic human tissue. VentureBeat reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe researchers released a paper called A Tissue-Like Material, announcing that they created their own version of a 3D printer, saying the current ones on the market couldn’t print what they were after, according to PhsyOrg. And what were they after? A protein sack of water that can mold itself into different shapes and perform similar functions to human cells. After developing the printer, the team was able to print out a series of droplets that formed a network of human-like cells that could act like nerves and send electrical signals across the network.

"We aren’t trying to make materials that faithfully resemble tissues but rather structures that can carry out the functions of tissues,” said Oxford University Chemistry Professor Hagan Bayley, according to PhsyOrg.

The researchers say that while their cells were nearly five times bigger than that of an average human cell, they believe the cells could be printed far smaller. They also noted that while their research only led them to print out two different types of cells, 50 or more kinds could be replicated. The cells currently only live for a few weeks.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related:: Watch CBS video: Scientists produce synthetic tissues with 3D printer

emily | 9:22 AM | permalink

March 18, 2013

That makes two of us: How bioengineers are using 3D printing to create body parts

nmat3357-f2.jpg The area of "bioprinting" - the 3-D printing of human organs for transplant - is still in its infancy. Bioprinters use a "bio-ink" made of living cell mixtures to build a 3-D structure of cells, layer by layer, to form tissue. This tissue is then developed into organs. David Tan reports for South China Morning Post.

quotemarksright.jpg... Replacing human body parts that are primarily made of cartilage, such as joints, the trachea and the nose, is helped by the fact that cartilage does not require a blood supply to survive. Building organs that rely on blood is trickier - though University of Pennsylvania scientists have been making advances in this area.

In a study published last year in the journal Nature Materials, the scientists showed that 3-D printed templates of filament networks can be used to rapidly create vasculature and improve the function of engineered living tissues. Without a vascular system, which delivers nutrients while removing waste products, living cells on the inside of a 3-D body part cannot survive.

Building a vascular network is tricky because the layer-by-layer fabrication of 3-D printing creates structural seams between the layers, which could burst when fluid is pumped through them at high pressure - as in the body's blood vessels.

The researchers designed 3-D filament networks in the shape of a vascular system that sat inside a mould. The mould and the vascular template were removed once cells were added to form a solid gel tissue around the filaments.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Article Preview: Rapid casting of patterned vascular networks for perfusable engineered three-dimensional tissues Jordan S. Miller, Kelly R. Stevens, Michael T. Yang, Brendon M. Baker, Duc-Huy T. Nguyen, Daniel M. Cohen, Esteban Toro, Alice A. Chen, Peter A. Galie, Xiang Yu, Ritika Chaturvedi, Sangeeta N. Bhatia & Christopher S. Chen Nature Materials 11, 768–774 (2012) doi:10.1038/nmat3357 Received 25 October 2011 Accepted 15 May 2012 Published online 01 July 2012

emily | 9:03 AM | permalink

February 21, 2013

Biohackers create do-it-yourself Bioprinter

bioprinter_0.jpeg A group of biohackers that meets at BioCurious, a community biology laboratory in Sunnyvale, California, has created a do-it-yourself inkjet printer that can print living cells. MIT Technology Review reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of the biohacker movement (see “Doing Biotech in My Bedroom”), whose aim is to tweak everyday technologies and make it affordable and easy for anyone to manipulate DNA, cells, and other of life’s building blocks. The far-fetched possibilities ring too close to bad science fiction. Other skeptics think these bio-tinkerers won’t produce much more than elaborate science fair projects.

And it’s true, the new DIY bioprinter isn’t a fundamental breakthrough—well-funded academic and corporate research labs already work with more sophisticated 3-D printing equipment to layer cells and build artificial tissue structures as they try to engineer entire organs and replacement human parts.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:57 AM | permalink

Scientists use 3D printing to help grow an ear

02_20_13bioengineeredear.jpeg Printing out body parts? Cornell University researchers showed it's possible by creating a replacement ear using a 3D printer and injections of living cells. [via stuff]

quotemarksright.jpgThe work reported Wednesday is a first step toward one day growing customized new ears for children born with malformed ones, or people who lose one to accident or disease.

This first-step work crafted a human-shaped ear that grew with cartilage from a cow, easier to obtain than human cartilage, especially the uniquely flexible kind that makes up ears. Study co-author Dr Jason Spector of Weill Cornell Medical Center is working on the next step - how to cultivate enough of a child's remaining ear cartilage in the lab to grow an entirely new ear that could be implanted in the right spot. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Full Cornell press relase: New Bioengineered Ears Look and Act Like the Real Thing.

Related: - 3D printing a new ear Ernst Jan Bos, a Dutch medical researcher at VUMC, Amsterdam is using a Ultimaker 3D printer to print 'scaffold' upon which new human body parts may one day be grown. As a specialist in plastic surgery he hopes this technology could be used for facial reconstruction of burn patient. via

emily | 8:37 AM | permalink

February 6, 2013

7 Cool Uses of 3D Printing in Medicine

Printers that spit out three-dimensional human cells and even organs, including the heart and liver, may seem like science fiction. But real scientists are taking real cracks at such a reality. Here are seven cool uses of such printing that could revolutionize medicine.

-- Printing organs

-- Printing human embryonic stem cells

-- Printing blood vessels & heart tissue

-- Printing skin

-- Patching a broken heart

-- Printing cartilage & bone

-- Studying cancer with printed cells

Read more in LiveScience via @3d_printers.

emily | 9:12 PM | permalink

February 5, 2013

3D printing breakthrough with human embryonic stem cells, hail artificial liver breakthrough

2880940021.jpeg A team of researchers in Scotland are creating the world’s first artificial liver tissue made from human cells, a technology they say has the potential to both speed up and slash the cost of testing and producing new drugs. new.scotsman reporst.

quotemarksright.jpgA team at Heriot-Watt University is using the cells to build liver tissue which will become a testing platform for drugs to treat a range of illnesses. It is hoped that the development of artificial livers will reduce and ultimately replace the need to test medicines on animals.

Will Shu, a lecturer in micro-engineering who is leading the research, said: “The medical benefits could be enormous. Artificial human liver tissues could be very valuable to drug development because they mimic more closely the response of drugs on humans, helping to select safer and more efficient drug candidates.”

With the human cells, the Scottish scientists are working to create miniature human ­liver tissues and have already developed a process known 
as “livers-on-a-chip” which “prints” the cells in 3D onto testing surfaces.

... Despite major scientific advances, artificial livers do not yet exist because of the complex nature of their creation. The scientists at Heriot-Watt are leading the way, but believe it could take between two and three years before a viable organ is produced.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Research paper published 5 February in the journal Biofabrication:Development of a valve-based cell printer for the formation of human embryonic stem cell spheroid aggregates

Related articles:

-- 3D printing breakthrough with human embryonic stem cells (

-- We Can Almost Print New Organs Using 3D Stem Cells (TIME)

emily | 8:03 AM | permalink

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